Mastercard Announces Blockchain Tech and Opens its API

Blockchain technology is supposed to be open for anyone who’s willing to use it, and Mastercard is holding true to that ideology.

The payments behemoth is opening up access to its blockchain technology by publishing its API on their Mastercard Developers site. Developers is a collection of free-to-use APIs, making both platforms and code specific to the company and its partners available for anyone to download and augment.

Mastercard’s blockchain solution gives companies and merchants a new way to transact with customers and is a key part of the company’s vision to provide payments that will meet the needs of all potential consumers. The blockchain API will be a key part of the Money20/20 hackathon in Las Vegas next week, an event that is regarded as one of the premier fintech hackathons in the world.

The goal of Mastercard’s blockchain technology is to help the B2B space and allow for quicker and more secure cross-border payments. This new blockchain tech will add to Mastercard’s suite of other B2B flows, from virtual cards to Mastercard Send to Vocalink. Now customers will have access to account, blockchain and card-based sending.

“By combining Mastercard blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, auditable and easy to scale,” said Ken Moore, executive VP of Mastercard Labs. “When it comes to payments, we want to provide choice and flexibility to our partners where they are able to seamlessly use both our existing and new payment rails based on the needs and requirements of their customers.”

Blockchain at Mastercard represents four key differentiators between themselves and others in the field. Privacy is key, as the payments company ensures that transaction details are shared only with the participants of the deal, while a fully auditable ledger is confidentially kept.

Flexibility means partners can use the blockchain API in conjunction with Mastercard’s other APIs to create powerful applications. Scalability allows the platform to be extended by reaching consensus between network moderators and participants. Finally, the reach of Mastercard simply allows a vast amount of financial institutions—almost 22,000 in total—to move funds that have been committed on the blockchain.

The whole goal of this announcement and integration is to make the commerce system easier, fairer and safer. Mastercard has filed over 35 patents to make their technology better and even invested in the Digital Currency Group, a collaborator that incubates and seeds blockchain tech companies.

In addition, Mastercard will begin to work on new use cases with the startups that enter its Start Path Global program, where the payments company partners and helps to scale businesses around the world.